Rummy's Commandos

The defense department's own set of spooks for spooky purposes

Revelations by Bill Arkin of U.S. Special Operations commandos operating within the U.S. in his new book, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9-11 World, won't come as much of a surprise to people who have nursed fears for years, but it does mark the emergence of yet another tentacle of Donald Rumsfeld's Sparta across the Potomac. At the moment, Rumsfeld has one war going and a cleanup operation in another conflict. He is scoping out military operations in 10 countries, including Iran and Syria, is newly embarked on building a spook apparatus abroad to rival the CIA, and now is revealed to be running ops inside the U.S. that inevitably will clash with the FBI and various police units of the Homeland Security Department.

Different from the other government agencies' relatively politically impartial domestic forces, Rumsfeld's operations are driven by the neo-conservative ideologues in the top layers of the government—by people who have domestic as well as international political agendas.

Needless to say, Rumsfeld has not let on to the public what has been going on since 9-11. In his unchallenged testimony before the 9-11 Commission last year, the secretary of defense defended the Pentagon from charges that it was asleep at the switch at the time of the attack, noting, "The Department of Defense . . . did not have responsibility for the borders. It did not have responsibility for the airports. . . . And the fact that I might not have known something ought not to be considered unusual. Our task was to be oriented out of this country . . . and to defend against attacks from abroad. And a civilian aircraft was a law enforcement matter to be handled by law enforcement authorities and aviation authorities. And that is the way our government was organized and arranged."

For years, the militia movement and their allies in various nativist groupings warned of an imminent military takeover by U.S. troops operating under the Soviets, or worse, the black hand of the U.N. Nor do the revelations about Rumsfeld's plans come as a surprise to the '60s leftists who discovered gumshoes from military intelligence in their midst. Oliver North's spectacular admission during the Iran-Contra hearings in the late '80s of his secret mission involving the continuance of government during a wartime crisis raised fears of martial law. And most recently, the layering of defenses in D.C., including missile batteries and, during the inauguration, thousands of backup military forces, makes the existence of the military operating freely within the U.S. almost a routine occurrence.

However, the counter-terrorism commando units will, sooner or later, end up bumping into similar ops by the FBI and Homeland Security, to name but two of the myriad federal p


Additional reporting: David Botti and Nicole Duarte

 
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